Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

More protests expected in Tunisia after mass arrests

More protests expected in Tunisia after mass arrests More protests expected in Tunisia after mass arrests
Patty Aguilar | 13 January, 2018, 03:49

Tunisia's government says protests over rising food prices appear to be subsiding following days of clashes with police that left one dead and scores injured.

According to the Interior Ministry, more than 700 people have so far been detained for clashing with police and inciting "riots". The UN said it was concerned about the number of arrests during the protests.

Protests, some violent, flared across Tunisia on Monday, when one protester was killed, before ebbing on Thursday. "The number of arrested individuals has reached 778".

"We call on the authorities to ensure that people are not arrested in an arbitrary manner and that all those detained are treated with full respect for their due process rights and are either charged or promptly released", he said.

Protesters demanded the revocation of a recently approved financial law, vowing to hold a "national march" on January 14 - the seven-year anniversary of Tunisia's revolution - if their demands were not met.

More protests expected in Tunisia after mass arrests

The protests broke out after activists and politicians denounced increases in Value-Added Tax and the introduction of social contributions at the start of the year as a tough new budget was implemented. The government has vowed not to back down on the austerity measures, taken to satisfy foreign lenders.

The violence has prompted fears of instability in Tunisia, a country that is widely regarded as the only democratic success story from the Arab Spring uprisings.

A nationwide march has been announced for Sunday, as the country plans to celebrate the seventh anniversary of its 2011 revolution that toppled authoritarian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Human rights group Amnesty International has accused Tunisian authorities of using "increasingly heavy-handed methods to disperse rallies and subsequently arrest protesters" during the unrest.

"Tunisian security forces must refrain from using excessive force and end their use of intimidation tactics against peaceful demonstrators", the watchdog said.

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